Maybe you were simply too busy at work this week. Maybe you figured you could get away with some flowers from the supermarket and call it a day. Or maybe you completely forgot it was Valentine’s Day.
If so, we’re here to help. Peruse these 26 pieces of inspiration, pick your preference, then pull your act together, pronto.
A Art galleries. The city’s major art museums are wonderful, but smaller spaces will feel more romantic. Among our favorites with Saturday hours: Elder, Jerald Melberg, Shain and Hidell Brooks.
B Binge. Burn through a TV show that the two of you have always wanted to watch together but just never got around to. Suggestions: “The Big Bang Theory,” “Breaking Bad,” “Boardwalk Empire” or “Banshee” (shot in Charlotte).
D Deck of cards. The game “Marriage” requires three decks but just two players, or Google “52 things I love about you” and get ready to personalize a single deck. Also try (after you’re done groaning): Strip Poker.
E Eat ethnic. If you’re reservation-less, use your Internet researching skills to find a Malaysian, Ethiopian, German, Brazilian or other type of out-of-the-way ethnic place that will add some spice and a sense of adventure to your Valentine’s Day.
F “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It’s out this weekend, guys, and you could score points for biting the bullet.
G Go karts. Get your motors running at Victory Lane Karting in Charlotte, The Pit Indoor Kart Racing in Mooresville or the Speedpark at Concord Mills.
H Hands-free. Smartphones, computers, social media – promise or agree to shut them all off for the day, so you can just focus on each other.
I Ice skate. Skate with your mate/date at Pineville Ice House or Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail.
J Jog. Organized races like Cupid’s Cup 5K and Cupid’s Undie Run are Saturday, but you and your sweetie can easily create your own fun run in your neighborhood or on the nearest greenway.
K Killer views. Our picks for cuddle-worthy spots: 1. The Backside Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park, which provides a steep but express route to the best vista from atop Crowders Mountain. 2. The beach at Jetton Park in Cornelius, where you can watch the sun set over Lake Norman. 3. Romare Bearden Park and its in-your-face view of a soaring uptown skyline that towers over the fountain wall and its multicolored lights.
L Learn. To say romantic things in foreign languages (using Google Translate), or how to give a great back rub (YouTube), or how to make chocolate fondue (FoodNetwork.com).
M Mixtape. Make one for your significant other, the old way (on CD) or the new way (on Spotify).
N Notes. As in love notes. Write one.
O Open houses. Check out Realtor.com and pick a few that the two of you can easily drive to and explore, whether you’re just daydreaming or truly in the market.
P Plan. Talk about all the places you’d like to visit (locally, regionally, nationally or internationally), pick one, start planning a romantic getaway.
Q Queens Landing Lake Norman Dinner Cruises. It’s too late to book one for Valentine’s Day, but give the gift of a reservation – for a sailing in springtime, when the weather is warmer.
R Romantic comedies. Pop some corn and maybe some champagne, then hunker down on the sofa with old standbys “Annie Hall,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “Pretty Woman,” or with newer, quirkier fare like “What If,” “Warm Bodies” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”
S Sarah McLachlan. She’s at Ovens Auditorium on March 18, and tickets would make a smooth gift for a lover of love songs.
T Treats. Dash out for truffles at The Secret Chocolatier at Providence Plaza on Providence Road, cupcakes at Nona’s Sweets in the University City area, or macaroons at Bar Cocoa at The Ritz-Carlton in uptown.
U Uptown. Plot a mini-journey that includes stops at new-to-you-two places: maybe a museum, a restaurant, a bar, a piece of public art and a pocket park like the one in front of the Carolina Theatre, 230 N. Tryon St., or The Green, 400 S. Tryon.
V Video games. When’s the last time you played one as a couple? If you have a home gaming console, your options are plentiful. If you don’t, try an arcade like Dave & Buster’s at Concord Mills or StrikeCity at the EpiCentre in uptown.
W Wineries. Surprise him or her with a short road trip to check out the tasting rooms and free tours at area vineyards, including Childress, Raffaldini, Shelton, Davesté and Treehouse.
X This is a family newspaper, so beyond having that letter as inspiration, you’re on your own.
Y Yogurt (the frozen kind). Our local favorites are Moonberries on Johnston Road, Yoforia in Charlotte and Mooresville, So Cool Frozen Yogurt on Albemarle Road and Fruity Cup Frozen Yogurt at the Shoppes At University Place. A cool treat to warm his/her heart.
Z Zilch. That’s right, do nothing. Let your lover set the agenda. And start planning for 2016.